Namely, towns and cities – and at least one state – are reconsidering the presence of the word “plantation,” and the connotations it carries.
In June, Rhode Island – which is formally called the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations – announced that it would drop the second half of the name from all state documents and websites. Lawmakers in Providence have also introduced legislation to put a name-change referendum on the ballot this November.
“We have to acknowledge our history, that’s true, but we can acknowledge our history without elevating a phrase that’s so deeply associated with the ugliest time in our state and in our country’s history,” Gov. Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, said at a news conference last month.
The name, which can refer to any farm, also conjures images of large estates across the South that in the antebellum years used slave labor to cultivate crops like cotton, sugar, tobacco and coffee.